Earlier this month, McDonald's announced it was to reopen a number of UK restaurants for delivery after shutting down all sites due to the coronavirus lockdown.
The move came after the fast food chain spent a week testing its operations behind closed doors in preparation to reopen sites.
Paul Pomroy, the chain’s CEO for the UK and Ireland said, "Eight weeks ago, we took the decision to close our entire restaurant estate, an unprecedented decision taken in the best interests of our employees and customers.
"Over the last two months we have worked tirelessly to overhaul our operational procedures to enable our teams to return to work safely.
" I want to reiterate the restaurants, Drive Thrus and their car parks remain closed, we will only be serving food via Uber Eats this week.
"I want to thank the franchisees, managers and employees who are busy preparing for this reopening and wish them all the best for what will undoubtedly be a busy return to the communities in which they operate."
Reopening this week for delivery only
From 11am on 13 May, 15 pilot McDonald's restaurants in the South East of England opened to offer delivery only, as the company continues to seek to safely reopen restaurants.
See the full list of reopened McDonald's here.
The next stage of reopening
"There has been an incredible response to news of our reopening and we know many of you are eager for us to extend our reopening plans at a faster pace," explained Pomroy.
"The wellbeing of our employees, suppliers and delivery partners’ couriers is my top priority and we will only extend our plans at a pace that enables us to create a safe working environment for our teams.
"In the last few days, updated government guidance has been shared in both the UK and Ireland, which makes it clear that takeaways and deliveries can operate.
"In line with government guidance, next week we will begin the next phase of reopening a further 30 pilot restaurants in the UK and Ireland, offering service through the Drive-Thru lane from Wednesday 20 May.
"Moving in step with government guidelines, we plan to reopen all our Drive-Thrus by early June. We will keep the restaurant locator on our website updated as our Drive Thrus reopen over the coming weeks."
Safety of staff and customers
From 20 May, there will be a £25 spending cap per car at the McDonald's drive throughs, and customers are encouraged to pay via contactless cards.
Other safety measures being introduced include:
- Fewer people in the kitchen and service areas, serving a reduced menu over reduced hours
- The use of contactless thermometers, with temperatures checked on arrival at work
- Perspex screens in key locations in the kitchen and service areas
- Protective equipment, including gloves for customer and courier facing positions and face masks, but not the type needed by healthcare professionals
- Additional training on cleanliness practices, including increased frequency of handwashing and extra sanitising of touch points around the restaurant
Not so fast food
Customers are advised that, due to he restrictions, service may not be as quick as normal, and there could be queues.
"I ask that you continue to be supportive of and patient with our restaurant teams as we slowly and safely return. We are asking all of our employees to adapt to how our restaurants now work, and will only reopen at a pace that enables them to work safely," said Pomroy.
"As we get accustomed to the new processes and procedures, we will look to reopen more restaurants, for longer hours and reintroduce more menu items. But only when I am confident we can do so whilst maintaining the new procedures we have introduced for the protection of our people.
"Learning from our initial phases, we will start to return to towns and cities across the UK and Ireland and thank you for your continued support as we work through this crisis. We will continue to keep you updated via email, our website and our social media channels."
The move comes as a number of fast food outlets, such as KFC and Burger King, also announced phased reopenings.